Govt to re-fix long-route bus faresShahin Akhter
The government is going to re-fix the fares of diesel-run buses carrying passengers on long routes in the wake of the latest increase in fuel prices.
Associations of transport owners and workers urged the government to raise the fares of buses and minibuses running in the cities of Dhaka and Chittagong.
Government officials, however, said that there was no justification for raising the fares in the two cities as most of the buses there used compressed natural gas as the fuel.
The government increased the prices of diesel and kerosene by Tk seven a litre – from Tk 61 to Tk 68 from Thursday midnight.
On December 31, 2011, the government increased the bus fare on long-routes from Tk 1.20 to Tk 1.35 a km after diesel price was increased from Tk 56 to Tk 61 per litre.
Bangladesh Road Transport Authority would sit with the transport owners this week to discuss the issue of re-fixing the fares of diesel run buses, BRTA director Mohammad Saiful Hoque told New Age on Saturday.
‘A seven-member costing committee would work out a new rate and the communications ministry would take the decision in this regard,’ said Saiful Hoque, also a member of the committee.
Bangladesh Road Transport Owners’ Association secretary general and costing committee member K Enayet Ullah told New Age that the government was likely to re-fix the fares this week for the buses which run on long-routes.
To justify the demand for raising the fares, he said, the prices of vehicles parts and workers’ wages also increased in the wake of the latest fuel price hike.
‘The authorities should keep these factors in the mind during re-fixing the long-route bus fares,’ he said.
Recalled Enayet, in December 2011, the government requested transport owners and workers to make a concession and agree to set the new fare on the long-route at Tk 1.43 a kilometre.
‘We think we have to make a concession this time also,’ he added.
Enayet said at the last time the government did not raise the bus and minibus fares in Dhaka and Chittagong on the ground that the buses running in these cities used CNG as the fuel.
But, he said, the government ought to keep in the mind that after compressed natural gas price was increased twice in May and September 2011, the owners switched back to diesel in both the cities.
And more than 50 per cent of 5,000 buses and minibuses in the two cities now use diesel, he said.
On this ground, he called for raising the fares in Dhaka and Chittagong as well.
Bangladesh Sarak Paribahan Sramik Federation general secretary Osman Ali said that on the previous occasion the government increased long-route bus fares at a low rate.
He said, the government should raise the fares in the two cities as about 70 per cent of buses and minibuses there used diesel as fuel.
BRTA director Saiful Hoque, however, said that only 20 per cent buses and minibuses in the two cities were diesel-run.
‘So we are paying no attention to the demand for raising the fares in the two cities now,’ he added.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Truck-Covered Van Owners Association general secretary Mohammad Rustom Ali Khan told New Age, ‘We cannot but increase the freight after the latest fuel oil price hike.’
‘Earlier, we did not increase the freight for the transportation of goods,’ he reminded the authorities.
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